George Clooney might be one of the most famous faces in Hollywood with a reputation as a critically acclaimed actor and highly accomplished filmmaker that’s won two Academy Awards from eight nominations in total, as well as scooping four Golden Globes from thirteen nods on top of receiving the honorary Cecile B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to cinema, not to mention he’s an entrepreneur that sold his Casamigos tequila company for a billion dollars, but no matter what he does for the rest of his days, he’ll never be able to escape the shadow of Batman & Robin.
Clooney has long since made his peace with that fact, too, and while promoting his upcoming Netflix sci-fi The Midnight Sky, the conversation has inevitably turned to Joel Schumacher’s notoriously awful superhero movie on numerous occasions already. Rarely does an interview pass by when the 59 year-old isn’t asked about Batman & Robin, and his latest burial of the critical and commercial dud has seen him admit that watching it “physically hurts” him.
“It’s a big machine, that thing. You have to remember at that point, I was just an actor getting an acting job. I wasn’t the guy who could greenlight a movie. The truth of the matter is, I was bad in it. Akiva Goldsman , who’s won the Oscar for writing since then, he wrote the screenplay. And it’s a terrible screenplay, he’ll tell you. I’m terrible in it, I’ll tell you. Joel Schumacher, who just passed away, directed it, and he’d say, ‘Yeah, it didn’t work.’. We all whiffed on that one.”
When ER‘s Dr. Doug Ross first signed on to play the Caped Crusader in the blockbuster franchise, he was surely hoping it would turn him into a proper A-list movie star, only to find himself the butt of many a joke after what was only his third big screen leading role ended up being in a project that quickly gained a reputation as one of the worst films ever made.
It would be an understatement to say that Clooney managed to bounce back in a major way over the last two decades, but for a while following Batman & Robin‘s release, there were a lot of industry insiders who believed the rising star had torpedoed his chance at cinematic success for good.